Church Without Walls

Christian Living

In the West we live in a Post-Christian Society and Christianity is seen to offer if anything, only very little to my generation. Not only are people less likely to happen upon church, just as many are leaving or have left – myself included. Red flags anyone?

It’s a scary thing to hear of someone “leaving” the Church, it sure gets the ole alarm bells ringing and we automatically think that something has gone wrong here, Jesus is being abandoned and she/he must be going AWOL – I assure you that is not my truth.

I still love Jesus. I still love God’s Church. I still love being in Christian Community and offering myself as a part of a whole – these are all essentials to a wholeness in one’s faith – and I’m also pretty sure that I will be planted back in at some stage, but for this season I have been called to continue (not be separate from) church in an expression outside of the walls.

If I’ve caught you off guard, I promise you that I’m not some rogue “New Age” Christian with a loose grip on my faith and I’m not a liberal disaster with no respect for tradition, so as I unpack my story I pray you hear my heart out.

I want to be transparent about where I stand in my faith journey, especially to those who read my blog, and you should want to know whether I’m safe? That’s wise because we should be discerning and not frivolous about who and what we allow to influence us and speak into our lives.

No Room to Grow

I seriously have no qualms with my church of 15 years, I owe so much to God for the roots he laid down for my family and I there and it was a blessing to have a “church upbringing” that I have little to recover from.

We were a family, a small community church with fruits a plenty and with leaders that introduced us to the simple gospel; to Love God and Love people. To be fair, I didn’t really leave my church it was more a case of – as I was on my way out, the doors shut – because April this year our Pastors were called to a new venture overseas and we had our final service.

The closure was recent, but I had been clocking out emotionally over the 2-3 years prior. I started to feel like I was in a box that I just didn’t fit into anymore and I was bursting at the seams. For a while that box, the walls, the structure gave me a sense of security and it provided me the right conditions for growth, but as I matured I felt a bit stuck? I had become stagnant in my early adult years and I had no “go to” from here.

The model of the modern church simply does not allow for every member to be activated the same, we can all enter discipleship but we don’t necessarily have equal opportunity to reach our full potential within that setting.

It’s probably not intentionally that way, it’s just the way things are because it’s the way things have always been. But imagine if how we “did church” supported a model more intentional about really seeing every person operating in their gifts and abilities – Imagine a church fully mobilised! Perhaps then, we would be a church equipped to bring a move of God on the outside?

“The Church is not a religious community of worshippers of Christ but is Christ himself who has taken form among people.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

The Call for Christ-In-Us

Not only had I outgrown the physical model of church, I also felt like my spirit was seeking something beyond Sunday Christianity and cups of teas with biscuits after the service. I get it. We know how to church; Welcome – praise songs – atmospheric worship songs – weekly notices – offering spiel – communion – intro speaker – sermon – closing prayer – “See ya next Sunday folks, have a blessed week.” Sound familiar? We know how to DO CHURCH, but I think we’ve forgotten how to really BE the CHURCH.

We don’t have to look far to see that the world around us is deteriorating faster than we can keep up and the “same old same old” may need to undergo a bit of a makeover, not so that we can appeal to modern culture, but so we are ready and available to give an answer to the unanswered questions of TODAY that many are dying for, literally.

If we took a moment to concern ourselves with what is happening just next door and turned our focus outward, we may actually be accessible to our neighbour in need? If we are ever to point anyone toward Jesus, we would at some point actually need to get up out of our seats – and regularly.

What ever happened to The Great Commission? How casual we have become in our call as God’s Church and how comfortable we have become to remain inside when Jesus beckons our hearts inside OUT, moving us to go beyond ourselves and our comforts to affect the World for the Kingdom of God! Has the gospel lost its sting? I think not.

People still need to hear the old old story, our culture though counter to Christ still seeks something real, a new hope and a peace that only God can provide. They still need to hear some GOOD NEWS, the liberating, chain breaking and powerfully healing Good News of Jesus and we need to keep telling it relentlessly!

We need to tell the story of Jesus with our mouths, our hearts and in the way we live and love, so that every living person can have their most basic need met; to have fellowship and relationship with the living God! We must be the church to exude the very presence of Christ-in-us and our hearts so transformed that it has a multiplying effect in our society.

We must return to the simple gospel; loving the unlovable, lifting the oppressed, giving generously to the impoverished, being a friend to the friendless and a home for the homeless. We need to return to the all-inclusive family heart of God.

“Not for yourself, O church, do you exist, any more than Christ existed for himself.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

Stripped back Worship

Having spent months now on the “outside” I feel I have grown in a way that was just not possible in the environment and conditions I had been in for so long and being replanted in an open field is less about feeling free and more about feeding the personal call of God on my life.

Being exposed in openness to God, myself and others has revealed where I had divvied up my trust (in agendas to tell me how and when to worship, atmospheric songs to cue me to “go deeper, “etc..) but being stripped back to the bare minimum has realigned my trust in Christ-alone and in authentic fellowship and meaningful relationships with other believers over meals, celebrations, spontaneous prayer time and actually sharing our real lives.

I no longer need the noise and the entertainment and the schedules as a vehicle to near me toward God, I have learned to do that now in the quiet, and the still and in the most plain of atmospheres and environments. The Lord has rewired me and retuned me to his voice and made me sensitive to his spirit and his direction because I have little distraction. I no longer need the aids and enhancers to “go deeper” I arrive there every morning that I wake now, it’s where I live and not just a place I go to.

I’ve been visiting churches since moving to Sydney (mostly for community) and despite some beautiful encounters and experiencing some seriously well-oiled mega church machines, I feel this discomfort within the pews and I’m not quite sure when and to what capacity God will call me back in, that’s up to him.

I’m still in amazing community with faith friends and family through social media and have regular face to face fellowship with our Aussie encounters. We each have accountability relationships and are checking ourselves constantly, so we do still have “church” remembering that it’s not a building, but a people.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ” – Hebrews 10;24-25

 

A Great Work Ahead

I’ve become so dissatisfied with being a spectator and I still feel this increasing sense of responsibility to live out a faith that has legs (and guts too). Right now, I feel to continue to deter from being complacent and sinking further into my chair, getting fat and full while there are people starving for life, for truth, for an unconditional love and for a peace that can only come from a heart touched by God and I want to leave myself available to respond to that however God would have me do so.

I love The Church – God’s people, and I am by no means calling the conventional church out nor do I want to depreciate from the wonderful work they do and have done over the years, but the harvest is plenty and the workers are few, we have a massive work ahead and so we need to be willing and able to see Kingdom Come!

Whether we are inside or on the outside of the church walls, there is absolutely no time for passive, apathetic, Sunday, pew sitting Christianity. We are to be a city on a hill, a lamp on its stand, a bright light in the darkness and a people to bring a mighty move of God – So what are we awaiting for?!!!

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Jesus

Kayla H xo

 

 

PROPHETIC WORD: WOUNDED DAUGHTERS

Christian, Uncategorized

I received this word from God for specific women in my own life, but as I have waited on it again and again I have felt that there are many wounded daughters who need to hear this today 🌸 I pray this imprints on your heart and you know just how much your father loves you!!!

WORD – WOUNDED DAUGHTERS

No more hiding from me. “The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do”-Psalms‬ ‭33:13-15‬

I am desperately trying to communicate to you how deep, how far and how wide my love for you is. I tirelessly wait and am relentless for you and for the things I have for you. I am a jealous God, I’m jealous for the affection of my children, I’m jealous that you go and drink from empty wells when I promise you a cup that overflows. I’m calling you into my light and all is being exposed and as you stand trembling in fear of nakedness before me, ashamed of your stuff and afraid of what I see. I saw it before and loved you still. If you let me I will uproot you from where you stand and replant you in a flourishing field and while it will hurt because stripping back always does – know that it’s for your benefit and I gently correct and discipline the ones I love for your good, not mine.

I am a good father and my love for you is not dependant on your behaviour or how you perform. You perform for the world and for others, but I am not like them. You can do NOTHING to change my love for you and NOTHING to earn it either, but the power and influence I have in your life is YOUR choice. I will never take my salvation from you, you were chosen, but to live called is to live in surrender and complete trust that I am who I say I am – THE GREAT I AM and that I the one who loved you first, have a better plan.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” – James‬ ‭1:22-25‬

I am calling you back to myself and recalling every word ever spoken over you that you received from me, so that you are reminded of who you truly are, so you can live as my original design. Remember who you are; a pearl, a jewel, my daughter and though you have played in the mud, I will pick you up and wipe you clean and set your feet upon a rock on which you will stand and not fall.

I love you, if only you knew how much. “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very GOOD!” – Genesis‬ ‭1:31‬ 💕

🌸 If this is for you and you would like to unpack it or share your load feel free to connect with me, Kayla XO

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT 🌸

Encouragement

This week one morning as I was spending time with God, I was overcome by his love and his presence and was reduced to tears, which seriously for me is “not very me” as I honestly am not a pretty crier 😅

I felt to encourage you today that God is available to us wherever we are, whomever we are and whatever our lives look like right now. He’s not put off by our stuff and he’s not afraid of who we are or the way we behave because his love for us in not dependant on how we perform, but WHO HE IS!

I saw a mass of people gathered together in an arena and as people were lifting their hands (as a way of the surrendering themselves and coming honestly before God) they were literally being blown over by the love and presence of God. They were an array of people each carrying different loads and at all stages of their journey, but the experience for all was the same. His relentless love for us is so beyond our understanding, and often we are afraid to enter into his presence because of all the things we don’t want to be exposed. And though God sees it all and we feel it would be better if were to just hide from this big and scary Father, he does the opposite to what we think and invites us in, is gentle in his approach and fills us with his love. He just want’s us to come!

Entering into God’s presence and being changed by his love and refined by his truth and becoming undone by his Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, is all about how we position ourselves, in surrender and arms open wide to recieve him, and it’s less about what we look like or how far away we think we are 💕

✨ Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. ✨

Wired for Community

Christian Living

IMG_5215.JPG

A Weak Connection

We are now living in an exciting time where we can instantaneously be linked to the lives of others on a global scale. Through digital technology and virtual encounters, at the click of a button, tap of a screen, swipe left or swipe right, connections are made faster and more readily available than ever before. So why then is it that in “real life” people are experiencing increasing feelings of disconnectedness?

The ability to connect and share through the lens of technology (as we are right now) is an incredible tool in communicating with and to one another and it can be a beautiful bridging between distance, separation and time. But it’s lack in the richness of human interaction, pure sensory experience and direct access to immediate reality, does not qualify it to be a worthy replacement of face to face, real and tangible encounters. It’s only a simulation of the real thing and it cannot equate to the depth of connection we have when we can look into each others eyes, share embrace and breathe the same breath.

Community – God’s Design 

God in himself, from all of eternity, is the original and seamless manifestation of divine community. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit – three persons perfectly unified as one and the essence and embodiment of perfect relationship. It’s only natural having been made in the image of God, that we have an innate longing and need to belong; to God (our creator), to our truest selves (created in God), and to one another and our world.

At our very core we are wired and created for deep relationship, and to exist harmoniously with God and our neighbour is the ultimate goal of human cohabitation. It’s this beautiful picture of us, as parts of a whole, pursuing an organic and loving integrated life. God himself, saw upon review of all he had made, that is was “not good” for man to be alone.

Having meaningful relationships and the “doing of life” together is [after God] the single most important interaction we could and must ever have in our lifetime. Loving and authentic relationships are imperative for all human enrichment and enhancement. Physically dwelling among, seeing, listening, touching and encountering each other in the flesh, in our day to day existence is necessary in entering into deep connectedness. It’s in the interweaving of our lives and the sharing of our stories – the good and the bad, the calm and the chaotic, the plain and the pain and in celebrating life’s successes with each other, that life becomes more bearable, more meaningful and more deeply bonded to the kind of exchange God intended us to have with one another.

Loving our Neighbour 

The season I’m in right now, is one of unintentional disconnection and [though God has a plan in it) let me tell you, I feel absolutely malnourished being outside of community and I’m glad it’s only for a time, because we just can’t do it alone. We cannot carry the load of life and all that it demands, without the helping hands of our neighbour or the listening ear of our friends. We need to be encouraged and sown into, and vice versa. We weren’t made for individualistic life experiences or shallow, short lived connections inside screens. We need real transparency, we need to put down our devices and disconnect from the busyness of the day to day grind, switch off so that we can be switched on in our real life connections – the ones that matter most.

If we want to build deep and lasting relationships and “love our neighbour” as the Word instructs us to, then we need to actually know who our “neighbour” is. Like really know them. We need to be present without distractions. We need to be available to know what needs they have or what burdens they carry or what good thing to celebrate together. We need to meet without agenda and filters, just as we are and in unhurried set apart time that tells our friend “I love meeting here with you, because you are important to me, and what’s going on in your life, that’s important too.” We need to be there face to face to read that her words say “I’m ok,” while her tears tell a different story, so we can offer a hug and show we cared enough to just be there, in person. And you know, the less concerned we become with ourselves and the looser we are with our own agendas, the more we can impart into the lives of others and the more time we will give to those who need to have that beautiful exchange with us and us with them.

Make the Exchange

So my encouragement to you is this, if there is someone you have had on your heart or in the back of your mind for awhile now and have intended to meet up with but haven’t yet – get in touch today! Maybe you have been sharing and connecting with someone you’ve never met via a social media outlet and would love to know them in person (obviously do this safely, in public and with friends even) – see if they can meet for a coffee! Or maybe you haven’t visited a grandparent or an Aunty or sat down with your kids for more than an hour just playing or reading books – make time now!

Perhaps even one day (when the opportunity presents itself) we can meet in person or as a community in real time and shoulder to shoulder, connecting and speaking into one another and exchanging life. Though I’m incredibly thankful to have access to such amazing means through technology in which I can have a voice and connect with you in cyber community, the end goal and the real desire here at Woven is to cultivate connections and relationships between Christian Women that will eventuate beyond this realm and be thriving and fruitful in the real world ❤️

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”‭‭ – Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25

Kayla H xo

A long awaited purpose.

Christian Living

IMG_5007Expectation

A week ago I turned 28! (Shock right? I don’t look a day older than 21 lol). When you’re younger, birthdays are something to be anticipated and you wait all year for them to come. The celebration, the gifts and the graduation from another year completed which gains you entry to the next one.

When you turn 5 you can go to “big kids” school, at 13 you officially upgrade to teens (shaved legs, bras, boys = life), at 18 you can now access your freedom and hopefully start to “adult” by getting a job, going to Uni or embarking on adventures and travelling abroad to see the world. Your life is up for the taking, ALL THE YEARS ahead of you, ya know the world is your oyster and everything!

(Until 30 starts waving at you from just around the bend. “Hey Kayla, want to come for a cuppa tea, watch Downtown Abby reruns and compare our insurances?” Ha kidding – I hope!)

When you get older, birthdays are no longer anticipated, they are feared! In the beginning our birthdays couldn’t come fast enough, but from the middle onwards they seem to fly past and the excitement of ageing well and truly platos (or maybe that’s just me because I got married and had kids young, so I’m just prematurely old lol).

Our expectations of “things to come” become less and the progression into our adult years can feel like the slamming of doors behind us that we never got to walk through and so we either become panicked about the time that’s left or we just accept that’s how things turned out for us.

Reflection

Every birthday and every new year instigates reflection on how you’ve spent your time thus far and it’s really tempting to shine the spotlight first on all the things in your life or self that seem so unimpressive or didn’t measure up and the number of blanks where it appears you haven’t accomplished much.

And for just a minute this year when I woke up as a 28 year old woman, my mind was flooded with thoughts and emotions that tried to fill me with disappointment, inadequacy and worthlessness, as if to say “Kayla look at the time! You were too late, there’s nothing you can do now. Your value, your purpose, your gifts? They’ve expired.” If I had spent enough time there, looking back on years passed (which by the way would be impossible to alter from the present) and in the midst of lies, I could have become debilitated in the vital act of pressing forward.

Having been a Christian for over half of my life, I was taken back by how vulnerable I felt at quite literally the oldest age I’d ever been. The reality is, the enemy is relentless to disable my purpose and corrupt my perspective and when you take your eyes off Jesus (sometimes even for a moment) you can become lost.

But God intervened and reminded me that morning, even now I must still realign my-self with him-self daily; his ways, his thoughts and his truth because he knows my story from beginning to end, he wrote it after all. My default setting is faulty, my ways and thoughts are flawed and though the world seeks to disarm me in my weakness, I’m grateful that God is strong when I am weak and he never tires to reset me over and over so that I can operate as his original design.

“For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah‬ ‭55:9

God’s perspective

When I re-reflected over my years with new and loving eyes and with the narration of God’s voice, I saw not to despise my humble beginnings and not to be frustrated or discouraged by the fact that it’s seemed God has been pruning and preparing me in plainness for what has felt like literally FOREVER, because in the grand scheme of things, those years will not go to waste.

My limited view has been showing me just a portion of the truth and only a glimpse of the bigger picture, which I know God veils for my benefit because it produces in me the trust I need not in myself but in the God who holds all things together.

God’s birds eye view (which he gave me a glance into the morning of my birthday) revealed that while it appeared I was left with the tedious task of planting and watering seeds over years and years that barely reared their heads, hence the blank pages and perception of minimal achievement and success, the time was coming soon when I would live in the fruits and the harvest of those very moments I had been faithful in the drought.

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8

Patience

If like me, you identify more with the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son, who remained loyal and stayed by his fathers side, not departing from him and have watched on and celebrated the election of others around you and seen God’s favour pour out on your neighbour, wondering when it will be “your turn” to be called upon? Don’t be dismayed, God is building and producing in you the kind of commitment, obedience, endurance, humility and desire for the things of God that will be sustainable and irrevocable.

Long waiting or long suffering isn’t always a sign of our inability to progress, but it’s sometimes what is required to establish longevity, ensuring we have the capacity to run the whole race and see God’s plan right through to the end. This was not a foreign concept to the biblical greats gone before us, Abraham waited 25 years for a promised son, Joseph waited 13 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Moses waited 40 years in the wilderness, Job waited almost his whole life for God’s justice and Jesus waited 33 years to complete the most important plan in human history. If you are waiting on God, then you are in the company of some of the most monumental world changers – trust the process!

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭

Promise

I feel a real shift is happening in the spirit, God is searching for a loyal people, not spectators or those casual about the state of the world and the work to be done. I believe that these days are the very times we were made for and that God will be calling upon the good and faithful servants who have been trusted for long with very little, to be among those that will be trusted with much in bringing his kingdom to earth! God has not forgotten his daughters, he will not abandon the call he placed on our lives and despite feeling inactive and unused, he will awaken the purposes he had strategically let lay wait for a time such as this! The long servicewomen will be the ones at the forefront of lasting change and will lead the way for the generations to come!

The years are not behind, I believe they are very much ahead! So let’s look upon our years passed with his grace and his measure and let’s be expectant and excited that the best is still to come. No matter how old or how many years have passed or how dormant you may feel, until our very last day, we are not considered to be past our “due by date” or to have surpassed our “best before” and God is not done with us yet! Let’s continue to be patient in the plain, trust his timing, stand firm and be ready to move into the next season so that we can say to the Lord…

“I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”
‭‭John‬ ‭17:4‬ ‭

Kayla xoxo